Oxford University to investigate complaints against moot organizers; Says OUSI refused University assistance, requests for information

Oxford University to investigate complaints against moot organizers; Says OUSI refused University assistance, requests for information

Anuj Agrawal

The organizing committee of the Oxford India moot is facing a fresh set of problems after the University of Oxford has declared that it is investigating complaints raised against the Oxford University Society of India (OUSI) alumni group. The University has also said that any OUSI reference on the University’s website has been removed and will not be displayed until the “complete circumstances are established.”

This follows allegations of gross mismanagement of the event itself, as reported by Bar & Bench yesterday.

As per the University’s News and Information office, in the summer of last year, the OUSI had approached the University with the idea of organizing the moot court competition. The Oxford Law Faculty had originally welcomed the idea and had even offered to send judges for the competition. However in February this year, the OUSI said that it no longer wanted to continue being associated with the Law Faculty. The University’s press statement reads,

“The group subsequently did not respond to the University’s requests for information concerning preparations for the Moot. No members of the Oxford Law Faculty attended the event, or were involved in the arrangements made for competitors, in the conduct of the competition, or its judging. These were all the responsibility of the alumni group.”

Surprisingly, the official page of the moot competition lists two Oxford Law Faculty lecturers. Dr. Dr. James Goudkamp & Dr. Tarunabh Khaitan, as members of the moot Organizing Committee.  An e-mail query to the University on this aspect has not been replied to at the time of publishing this story.

As for the head of the organizing committee, repeated phone calls and e-mails have solicited no response so far. The official number of the Organising Committee appears to be temporarily out of service. Attempts to contact other members of the Organising Committe have met with little success. With respect to the allegations of an arrest of an organizing committee member, there has been no formal response from the committee. This facebook post provides details on the incident where an organizing committee member allegedly assaulted a female participant. They were then taken to the Tughlak Raod Police station where,

“Crocodile tears followed, as did a very well choreographed apology on behalf of his parents and the police. Our dear boy rubbed his nose to my friend’s feet and reluctantly did some sit-ups. His parents even got him to offer my friend and her team a winning position in the competition! Ah now, that’s really the kind of morality I was waiting for. I suddenly knew the origin of Abhishek v. Chhabra’s arrogance and attitude.

At the behest of the police, he gave a three-line apology letter, and walked out – a free, moral less man, who would probably be enjoying a dinner at the Taj meant for the Oxford alumni. Such stature and class.”

Updated on 8:16 am on March 20, 2014.

In response to questions on the inclusion of Oxford University’s faculty on the Organising Committee, the University has stated that.

Dr Tarunabh Khaitan provided advice on the writing of the problem for the moot…in September 2013. He then had no further involvement with the moot, and none at all with its organisation. Dr James Goudkamp, the Law Faculty’s Mooting Coordinator, made the offers of advice and of assistance with judging mentioned in the statement. The moot organisers did not take up Dr Goudkamp’s offers of assistance.

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

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